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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  September 26, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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why our students are fling behind and how they can get back on top. our nbc special coverage begins. under suspicion. an embattled pastor breaks his silence about accusations of sexual abuse. rough landing. >> get down. stay down. heads down. stay do. >> an emergency in flight caught on tape. and going for the gold, how the l hopes to build its audience by thking young. from nbc new world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. goo evening, everyone. we're coming to you tonight from the plaza outside our rockefeller center studios in what we have transferred this week io learning plaza. it's part of educationnation. nbc news special coverage this week focusing on our nation's schools and how we can help our
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children succeed. a new nbc news "wall street journal" poll finds half of americans believe public grade scols need major changes or a complete overhaul. this week we help to stimulate a national conversatio about that. that conversation got a boost this past weekend with facebook founder's contribution of $100 million to the struggling school district in newark, new jersey. also, this weekend's premiere "waiting for superman" about the he inequali of schools. we kicked things offith a spirited town hall meeting involving many in the trenches of public education. nbc'sducation correspondent rehema ellis is here to tell us more about it. >> iwas an exciting event. for two hours the teachers were inspiring about the job that is stressful and extremely demanding. right now the teacher's job is
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under crical review because of what is and is not happeningn the classroom. america's public school students are in trouble. on nearly every major ranking theesults are disapinting. 40 years ago american students were first. now among 30 developed nations our skutudents rank 24th in mat 17th science and 10th in adi reading. nationwide nearly 70% of our students graduate from high school, but among african-american, latino and low-income students, just over 50% graduate each year. the state of education in america was the subject of a teacher town hall discussion in new york's rockefeller plaza moderated by nbc's brian williams. about 300 educators joined 2300 more online to share ideas, to brnstorm, and in part to vent. >> are teachers, do you feel, under attack right now?
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>> teachers cannot fix every problem. try ase do, and as responsible as we feel for every problem, we can't fix them all. >> on tenure. >> it allows up to stand up to principals and speak back against parent who is don't necessarily want to do the right thing. >> not all teachers aee. >> i don't need tenure for that. they'll see i'm doing a good job and hire me again. >> many express dismay that society generay doesn't understand, appreciate, our pay teachers an adequate salary. >> you're going to work in the most challenging district with the most challenging kids, need to make the most progress of any teacher and you will not own your own home. >> teachers raising their voices in a psionate debate with so much on the lines. >> we hear so much from politicians, different bodies, but teacher voice has
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stemically been cut out of the conversation. >> today teachers were listened to and heard. what we learned is on this very difficult and complex problem of failg schools, even the teachers are not all on e same page, but they said today, lester, that they're trying to get there. >> good start to the conversation we talked about. rehema, thank you very much. as part of our coverag matt lauer will have an exclusive live interview with president obama tomorrow morning at 8:00 eastern on "today." the nationally known pastor of a church, bishop eddie long of georgia spoke public for the first time about lawsuits filed by four young men alleged that he lured them into sexual relationships. long said he wa ready for fight. we get the latest tonight from ron mott. >> reporter: the faithful welcomed eddie long back to the
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pulpit today, the preacher at the sex scandal facing four lawsuits. >> imt ni'm n the man being portrayed on the television. that's not me. that is not me. i am not a perfect man, but this thing i'm going to fight. >> reporter: it's a battle that's likely to be public and potentially very graphic. four former male members of long's churches here in georgia and north carolina allege he gave each gifts and special favor before coaxing them into a sexual relationship. the attorney says it was not easy for them to step forward. >> can you imagine these young men, he's a man with ultimate power. he's with presidents, president bush came to his church, presidentlinton embraces him. now, who is going to ever believe them? >> reporter: there was a mix of opinions among members as they
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may their way to worship this morning, from full support to calls for resignation. >> he should take time, step down and learn from this expeence. >> let the law judge him. that's god's duty, to judge him. >> reporter: long did not dlg the allegations directly today, but did so tough a lawyer last week. >> what's most important the notion of a young person having their innocence taken away and being traumatized. whether he confesses to that or not, that's an issue that i think should on the front burner. >> reporter: a firestorm of controversy long compared to david versus goliath. >> i have five rocks, and i haven't thrown one yet. >> reporter: a fight that seems headed for a courtroom. ron mott, nbc news, atlanta. we want to turno a story developing in the midwest tonight. there is an immediate evacuation order in effect in central sconsin where a levee failing. flooding across the upper midwest is so far driven hundreds out of the home.
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jeff rossen has the latest. jeff. >> right now the biggest problem as you mentioned is in wisconsin, a levee is giving way which could send water gushing into the city of portage, wisconsin. emergency officials are asking everyone in the area to evacuation worried that neighborhoods will entirely flood out. once the levee breaks they won't reach people in high level areas. this is along the map alon the wisconsin river. this is after days of pounding rain that plagued the dwest. in northfield, minnesota a river overflowed and flooded many streets. the water came in so fast and got so high it submerged a local high school football field. nearby towns dozens of homes re damaged and roads were closed there as well. this weekend the governor of minnesota declared a state of emergency in 35 counties.
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at this hour we learned that the rivers is receding and the floodwaters are receding and many are going into cleanup mode at noint. the ongoing problem is in wisconsin where that levee is eroding by the hour and the evacuation plan is active, lester. >> jeff, thank you. now to politics and a new front in the pch battle for control of congress. it's about tax cuts passed as temporary during the bush years, but there's a push to makeome of them or all of them rmanent. we get more tonight from nbc's mike macara. >> reporter: cpaigning in normally democratic new england today, a familiar face. >> i know why people are hurting and mad and frustrated. >> reporter: as president bill clinton saw his party lose control of congress, a fate that president obama and democrats want to avoid. >> how bad will november be at this point in time in juror judgment? >> the democrats will do very well and we'll keep the majority. >> this year doing well simply means holding on, and now the campaign trail leads to the flr of congress, a major
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battle erupted over extending bush era tax cut set to expire this year. today the democratic leader in the house all but ruled out a vote before the election. >> i doebt we will. >> reporter: republicans want to extentd the cuts to everyone including the wealthy. >> that's something we can't do. >> rorter: the white house would allow rates to rise for those making more than $250,000 do do . with no compromise it has to wait for a lame duck session. today it brought republican ridicule. >> they have time to bring a comedian to washington, d.c., but they don't center time to eliminate the uncertainty by extending all of the current tax ratds? >> the comedian is stephen colbert who testifiedhis week before congress on imgration. >> this is america. >> reporter: friday house speaker nancy pelosi defended the democrats that invited him. >> the committee has a point of view. it can bring attention to important issues like immigration. >> reporter: many said colbert mocked congress and today
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pelosi's top lieutenant broke with the speaker. >> i think his testimony was not appropriate. i think it was an embarrament for mr. colbert, more th the house. >> reporter: meanwhile with democrats in trouble many are running away from their leaders in washington. it's an emphasis experts say that's the democrats' best hope to hold on. >> the american public is angry that the the economy hasn't turned around, they're worried, they're frustrated and they're taking it out on incumbents, primarily democrats. >> reporter: lester, the focus for president obama is the economy this week. he travels to four states in three days to promote the easing of the recession and promote recovery. he's going to raise campaign cash for democrats. lester. >> mike, thank you. there was tense moments in the air last night over new york's jfk airport.
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a delta commuter flight was forced to make an emergency landing when one of the landing gears wouldn't come down. the voice of a flight attendant was captured on cell phone video warning passengers to brace for impact. >> brace for impa. >> heads down. stay down. heads down. stay down. >> passengers said they saw spks out the window and a wing dragging on the tarmac, but there was no fire and everyone escaped unhurt. when "nbc nighy news" continuethis sunday , more owed indication nation wh one school's remark success in helping schools make a dramatic turnaround. how the nfl hopes to score with some new, young fans. exercise may not be enough to keep your bones strong. so ask your doctor about once-monthly boniva. boniva works with your body to help stop and reverse bone loss. studies show, after one year on boniva that's exactly what it did for nine out of ten won.
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wee back tonight from learning plaza continuing our reports on education with a sober fact. only about one-third of this naon's fourth graders are considered proficient in reading and math. some schools are making dramatic inroads helping students score impressive gains. tamron hall looks at these schools. >> reporter: the school we visited i north carolina is considered such an example that the secretary of education arne duncan visited the school a uple weeks ago. he called it a model of what is possible for the entire country. like most modest parents kim calls her son her baby genius. >> have a good day. >> reporter: at nine years old he's in a hurry to head off to fourth grade, but if you ask one of his former teachers -- >> he was more worried about
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fooling around and getting people to laugh at him. he didn't have the direction that he needed. >> reporter: his grades, bs and cs and sometimes wors that was last ye. today -- >> what was your problem, javon? >> i forgot to put a zero. >> i got an a in math, an a in literacy. >> his progress report is one example of the remarkable change taking place at sterling element school in charlotte, north carolina. in 2008 only 26% of third graders passed standardized reading tests, 41% passed math. this year the students improved dramatically, 66% passed reading, 86% passed math. >> it was a reality check for the staff that it was as bad as it was. >> reporter: the principal came here to lead the turnaround under a new program called strategic staffing initiative she was offered a 10% rse to
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run sterling, the flexibility to remove five ineffective teachers and the ability to give $20,000 bonuses to hire five of the bes teachers in the district. >> it's bringing in the best teachers that we can finds a putting these teachers in a situation where they can thrive. >> does the number have power? >> reporter: kurt thompson is one of the top teachers. his track recordt other schools showed that he's effective of taking students are low test scores and helping them to become successful. >> someone has to be interested in their life. somebody has to take an interest in them, and the walls will come down and they'll trust. that's when the learning happens. >> reporter: it was the individual atttion javon needed to still have fun while focusing on his future. >> now i'm getting notes about how he's progressing, and that he pays attention and he's a good kid now. it makes a big difference. >> i want to give my masters
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degree, my bachelor's degree, my doctoral degree. that will take long. >> reporter: so the program at sterling has been so successful it's now in place at 20 different schoolsn charlotte, north carolina. proof thatood things can spread out. lester. >> an inspiring story. thank you very much, and thanks for the fine folks joining us here on learning plaza tonight. we appreciate them stoppg by. when we continue on "nightly news," the fight to get back to school in a war zone when the classroom is right on the front lines. [ male announcer ] you can't un-smoke a cigarette. and you can't go back and un-do the times you tried quitting... ♪ ...then started again. but every smoker was a non-smoker once. and you could be again for many, smoking is a treatable medical condition. so talk to your doctor about prescription treatment tions and suppt.
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and make this time, your time. about prescription treatment tions and suppt. words alone aren't enough. my job is to listen to the needs and frustrations of the shrimpers and fishermen, hotel or restaurant workers who lost their jobs to the spill. i'm iris cross. bp has taken full responsibility for the clean up in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. our job is to listen and find ways to help. that means working with communities. restoring the jobs, tourist beaches, and businesses impacted by the spill. we've paid over $400 million in claims and set up a $20 billion independently-run claimsund to cover lost income until people impted can get back to work. and our efforts aren't coming at tax-payer expense. i know people are wondering-- now that the well is capped, is bp gonna meet its commitments? i was born in new orleans. my family still lives here.
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'm gonna be here until we make this right. it's a good snack. you're welcome. they grow so fast. [ woman ] i know. they do, don't they? why is carol sitting all the way over there? carol almost told evan that there are vetables in the chef boyardee. nearly ruined their favorite after-school snack. so she's in a time-out. i hope she learns from this. [ female announcer ] chef bardee micro beef ravioli microwave cups. an after-school snack with a full serving ovegetables. just dot tell them. shh. a critical moment. israel's ten-month freeze in the west bank has ended by breaking ground for a new school. israel's prime minister has called for restraint. palestinian officials threatened to walk away from the peace
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talks over the settlement issue. we turn to a school on the front lines of a battle far from home in kandahar where american and afghan troops have begun the active combat phase in the push to drive out the taliban. the school's survival is a personal mission from one american commander. we get the story today. >> reporter: alpha company commander nick stout spends a lot of time looking at a mu mud-walled town. he will have to clear them of some of the toughest talib fight thaerz surround them. >> we have had people shooting from rooftops. >> reporter: the vantage point and top priority is the school. to defenthis strategic buding on the main road to kandahar city, they turned it into a combat outpost. for the michigan native with a degree in journalism it's
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personal, denying them the school could secure a chide's chance at an education. >> is about being a human being, and that's what we're trying to do out here. >> reporter: now the school's windows are lined with sandbags and exhausted troopers have replaced students and the black boar keep track of the ammunition. the foundation stone was laid almost eight yea ago with u.s. cash and lots of hope for the future. three years later canadian forces opened the school and two years later the taliban shut it down. today this school is a front line, and snier snipers are posd behind the trees less than100 yards beyond the wall ready to pounce when they venture beyond the school. stout is optimistic, a veteran of the surge in baghdad,e's seen war zones become school zones before. he's determined to hold the school so kids cane back in class this fall. >> this is why we fght through
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the times we did to make this success. the bottom line is we've all bled for this place. >> reporter: he's keeping one room filled with tables and book bags waiting for the children and the day a dream school comes true. nbc newskandahar. here at home we learned today the chief operating officer of comcast will become ceo of the new n universal when comcast takes majority ownership by the end of the year. on friday nbc's current ceo jeff zuker announced he would leave the compa when the deal is finalized. when "nightly news" continues, they came to play. the nfl looks to the future by thinking young. but it's not something that i want to do completely on my own -- i like to discuss my ideas with someone. that's what i like about fidelity. they talked wi me one on one, so we could come up with a plan at's right for me, and they worked with me to help me stay on track -- or sometimes, help me get on an even better one. woman: there you go, brian.
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his show has mocked patterson who was partially blind. he mocked it. as we get readyor "football night in america" the informa nfl is trying to build its fan base by creating a new generation of football lovers
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and the key is to think young. nbc's lee cowan reports. >> reporter: the love the game hits early a so does its realities. the burbank vikings loss 20-0 this weekend. that didn't deter number 66. he's just the kind of minifan the nfl is counting on, notust because his play on the field but the play off it. adam is one of 2 million kid now playing with the nfl online. >> it's just fine. you don't have work and you get to play it. >> reporter: the nfl kicked off rush zone, an online fantasy game, two years ago to broaden the fan base instead of taking its youngest fans for granted. >> what we tried to do is not expect the kids would come to the nfl and the game woulde handed down to them, but they could find the nfl in all the places where they're spending time. >> reporter: this season rush zone the game became rush zone the cartoon. >> let's do this. >> reporter:he hero is a
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10-year-old charger fan named ish. >> whoa. no turner coach of the san diego argers. >> reporter: it's all for young fans. in his age group he and his friends have a lot of competing interests. >> they have this spongebob, cartoon network and all the other fancy channels. the nfl wants to make sure tony romo are on the same footing with kids as spongebob. it's not that the nfl is forsaking theecame boomer fan base, it's to get the future cheese heads, studies show kids have been to be interested in the nfl early? is it working, in the season opener there was a 30% jump in viewership in kids 12 and under. a smallut important slice. >> if there's a game, i really watch it. >> reporter: every second, every down? i just watch it pretty much.
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>> reporter: the nfl hopes the fans will ture, but not too much. leecowan, nbc news, los angeles. that's "nbc nightly news." sunday night "football night in america" is coming up next followed by the jets versus the dolphins. thanks for watching, everyone. dolphins. thanks for watching, everyone. good night. -- captions by vitac --
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